Massachusetts Referees Officiate Top 3 Youth Finals at Futsal National Championships

Contributed by Anthony Brossi with Matt Ames

Over the Weekend of February 14 through 17th three Massachusetts Referees, Anthony Brossi, Zachary Levin, and Nick Karnovsky, had the opportunity to officiate at the US Youth Futsal National Championships at the New Century Fieldhouse in Gardner, Kansas.

From Left: Anthony Brossi, Nick Karnovsky, Zachary Levin, and New Hampshire State Referee Doug Campbell

Futsal, the only form of indoor soccer sanctioned by US Soccer, consists of 5 on 5 play where direct free kick fouls accumulate and can lead to penalty kicks from 10 meters away. A 4 second cap on almost every restart demands quicker processing of events for referees and also demands more rapid decision-making than traditional soccer. Matches are officiated by two referees positioned on each touchline, requiring a substantial amount of teamwork and non-verbal communication. Futsal is played around the world, and for Levin, "the highlight of the tournament was refereeing a team that had traveled from Australia. Their enthusiasm and sportsmanship speaks volumes about the growth of Futsal, both in the U.S. and abroad."

This was Brossi and Karnovsky's second trip and Levin's third trip to the National Finals. On hand at the finals were Shane Butler, current US FIFA Futsal Referee, and Ed Marco, the US FIFA Futsal Instructor, who both provided game feedback to match officials. Over the course of the weekend, Brossi, Levin, and Karnovsky officiated approximately 15 matches each.

The trio was then selected to officiate the top 3 youth finals: Boys 18 National Final – Zachary Levin; Nick Karnovsky – Girls 18 National Final; Anthony Brossi – Boys 17 National Final. In addition to these assignments, Levin also worked the Boys 14 National Final, Karnovsky the Girls 10 National Final, and Brossi the Boys 15 National Final. Another prominent moment was Brossi's appointment to work on the field that had a full television crew to live broadcast the matches, similar to the way the Boys 19 National Finals is broadcast every year for the US Youth Soccer National Championships. When asked about working a televised match, Brossi shared that "it was a surreal experience. To work with the top guys on a National Final with a live broadcast was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget."

Two members of the trio were also selected to attend the Development Academy Futsal Tournament to be held in New Milford, CT on February 22nd and 23rd, 2014. The Development Academy Futsal Tournament is another venue to further and increase the individual skills of the top youth soccer players in the nation as well as to identify potential national team players for Futsal. The Tournament is also an opportunity for US Soccer to develop and train referees in the game of Futsal. Karnovsky remarked that "These tournaments have given me the opportunity to not only work with many national and state referees from around the country but to actually instruct them, as they are new to Futsal. That's a pretty unique experience; how many 17 year olds can say they've taught a national referee? Futsal has served as a catalyst in my development both on and off the field."

To learn more about Futsal and how to become a certified Futsal Referee, visit the Futsal page.